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GuardKnox Partners With Palo Alto Networks To Enhance Automotive Cybersecurity

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Cybersecurity companies GuardKnox Cyber Technologies and Palo Alto Networks have partnered to provide end-to-end automotive cybersecurity solutions for connected and autonomous vehicles. Israeli-based GuardKnox will be leveraging Palo Alto Networks' expertise in network and cloud security to provide original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with secure over-the-air (OTA) communication between the vehicle, the cloud storage system and their operational centers.

"We took the technology that was used by the Israeli Air Force to protect fighter jets and brought it to the automotive industry. We have a few families of solutions that include hardware and software, and we work in collaboration with several OEMs and Tier 1 manufacturers across the world," said Moshe Shlisel, the CEO and co-founder of GuardKnox.

Shlisel explained that within the connected and autonomous vehicle segment, the primary concern for OEMs is the safety of the vehicle because there are lives at stake. This puts undue pressure on automotive cybersecurity because, unlike similar solutions for a computer or  smartphone, a vehicle manufacturer cannot be content with 99.99 percent security coverage. In essence, cybersecurity in the automotive vertical would have to provide complete coverage across all driving environments and possible cyber attacks.

"Looking at this holistically, you have a vehicle in which data is flowing inside and out – through over-the-air updates and data uploads to operational centers of OEMs. If you don't have an end-to-end solution, then hackers can break into an OEM data center and send in malicious software that could harm the vehicle," said Shlisel. "Together with Palo Alto Networks, we have created, encrypted and authenticated over-the-air channel communication that can now be used to securely send data between the vehicle and the OEM data center."

Within a connected vehicle, there are a number of electronic control units (ECUs) that communicate with one another through several protocols and networks. When the vehicle has a second-rate cybersecurity system in place, hackers can work around it and gain access to the channel between the ECU and the cloud – lifeline to the OEM-vehicle communication. The idea is to ward off every cyber attack, while simultaneously making sure the vehicle retains its ability to maneuver the roads without any issues.

GuardKnox's solution is embedded within the vehicle's network, and it sieves through every message that goes in and out of the system. The cybersecurity architecture is designed to transmit only vetted information, making the system formally verifiable, efficient and highly resistant to attack.

The Palo Alto Networks' GlobalProtect Cloud Service secures the external network between the vehicle and the OEM cloud through its protected communication channel, while GuardKnox provides a "holistic lockdown approach to the vehicle's internal network," by enforcing specific rules on all communication to and from the vehicle.

"GuardKnox was the first to introduce service-oriented architecture in the automotive market. In the future, drivers will be able to customize their vehicles – not only on the user interface perspective but also be able to update and upgrade their vehicles on the transportation layer," said Shlisel.

"In the airline industry, we have something called the ‘glass cockpit.' In there, you don't see the regular dashboard but just computer screens. And on these screens, you have different views, which you will be able to change," he continued. "Imagine that on a car. Say, you are driving a small and inexpensive vehicle, but you would like to have the skin of a Ferrari on it, to make you feel better. From a technology point of view, it is feasible. It hasn't been done yet, but it is absolutely possible to see that in the near future."

Image sourced from Pixabay

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